Good Class Bungalows – Everything You Need to Know
This article guides readers on what Good Class Bungalows in Singapore is, what the typical cost, and who can own one.
Most of us Singaporeans cannot afford to own a Good Class Bungalow (GCB), however it doesn’t stop us to still be “kaypoh” about it by reading the news and comment on it in the forum.
If you own a GCB, there is no need to go to all these efforts to be “kaypoh” about it. These houses are sold to Ultra High Networth Individuals who value privacy and exclusivity. They will probably not want to know that Singaporeans are “kaypoh” about their homes.
What are Good Class Bungalows (GCBs)?
Good Class Bungalows (GCBs) are large, modern houses built on large plots of land. They are most prestigious and exclusive type of landed housing in Singapore, known for its size and location. The land area must be of at least 1,400 sqm, and it must be situated in those areas zoned for GCBs.
To safeguard their exclusivity, prestige, and character, GCBs must be built within 39 gazetted areas in Singapore (see the following table). These are typically situated in a prime and well-known locations, for example, Chatsworth, Cluny Road close to the Orchard Road shopping belt, Ridley Park off Tanglin Road, Leedon Park close to Holland Road, and King Albert Park off Bukit Timah Road.
Good class bungalow locations:
|10||Belmont Park, Bin Tong Park, Brizay Park, Bukit Sedap, Chatsworth Park, Cluny Hill, Cluny Hill, Cluny Park, Cornwall Gardens, Dalvey Estate, Ewart Park, First/Third Avenue, Ford Avenue, Fourth/Sixth Avenue, Gallop Road/Woollerton Park, Garlick Avenue, Holland Park, Holland Rise, Leedon Park, Maryland Estate, Nassim Road, Oei Tiong Ham Park, Queen Astrid Park, Rebecca Park, Ridley Park, Ridout Park, Victoria Park, White House Park|
|11||Bukit Tunggal, Caldecott Hill Estate, Camden Park, Chee Hoon Avenue, Eng Neo Avenue, Raffles Park, Swiss Club Road|
|21||Binjai Park, Kilburn Estate, King Albert Park|
District 10: Bukit Timah and Holland Village
District 10 is home to some of Singapore's most expensive homes. Bukit Timah was known as Singapore's "winter garden" in colonial days because it was the only area with a cool climate - it was the farthest part from town. The area also has some of the best schools in Singapore, including Anglo-Chinese School (ACS) and Raffles Girls' School (RGS). Some GCBs here are currently being used as schools or educational centres.
District 11: Camden Park, Eng Neo Avenue
District 11 is also one of Singapore's wealthiest areas, just a few miles away from District 10. Oxley Road Crest has some huge land plots that are ideal for building GCBs, and many have been built here in recent years. The area is known as the "GCB capital of Singapore". The local population includes many high-profile businesses and professionals, including bankers and stockbrokers.
Districts 20: Windsor Park
Districts 20 are located in the northwestern part of Singapore and are home to many Good Class Bungalows. These areas used to be rural country towns in pre-independence Singapore and were some of the most sought after real estate when they were first developed. They are not as posh as Bukit Timah or Oxley Road Crest but still offer large land plots with lots of trees. One of the few left in Singapore still has an old-world charm, with lots of winding roads, large houses, and greenery. It is also the only place near downtown Singapore where you can find a golf course.
District 21: Binjai Park
District 21 is an area developed in the late 1990s and 2000s in the southwestern region of Singapore. There are some GCBs here, and they are all modern, large properties built in a similar style to the rest of Singapore. They are usually low-density properties with large lots, so that you can expect quite a bit of privacy here.
As there is no official figure published, there is estimated to be around 2,700 GCBs in all these 39 zones areas combined. Many of them will likely never be sold because they have become priceless family heirlooms. In contrast to most landed neighbourhoods in Singapore, these GCBs zones areas are encircled by enormous land and greenery plots.
In terms of their size, the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) stipulates that:
- GCBs cannot be built more than two-storeys high (not inclusive of an attic and a basement)
- All GCBs must have a land area of at least 1,400 sq m (approx. 15,069 sq ft)
- Only up to 40% of the land is permitted for housing, whereas the balance 60% must be devoted to greenery and landscaping (pools, gardens, basketball courts, and so forth)
Can Foreigners own GCBs?
So you may have heard that foreigners are unable to purchase landed properties in Singapore (excluding Sentosa Cove properties). This isn't the case for Singapore Permanent Residences (SPRs). SPRs must first seek approval from the Land Dealings (Approval) Unit in the Singapore Land Authority (SLA) if they would like to purchase a landed house.
These are the two factors principally affect the approval chance:
- The foreigner must be a Singapore PR for at least five years; and
- Has made an extraordinary economic contribution to Singapore.
A new prominent Ultra High Networth Individual is James Dyson, who broadly purchased a $45 million GCB in Bukit Timah in July 2019.
How much do good class bungalows (GCBs) cost?
Because of their scarcity, and status symbol, GCBs cost are considerably more than the typical landed house in Singapore. It's normal to discover GCBs transacting for at least $8 million, similar to buying into Hong Kong's Peak district or London's Hyde Park neighbourhood. Many GCBs have become priceless assets for their owners due to their high land values.
In 2019, 34 GCB transactions were totalling $645.7 million. Among these was an 84,453 sq ft GCB at 33 Nassim Road, which was sold for an incredible $231 million — the highest transacted amount to date.
Most GCBs' psf costs are similar to the more moderate homes in Sentosa Cove's Paradise Island. As indicated by Sumitro Ong, Key Executive Officer of Pinnacle Estate Agency, the average costs of GCBs in District 10 from Dec 2019 to May 2020 is $1,597psf.
High profile GCB transactions in 2020
The most costly deal in 2020 is a 20,369 sq ft GCB in Cluny Park, which was sold for $40 million.
In May 2020, a GCB at Windsor Park was sold for $21.68 million during the Covid-19 Circuit Breaker to a buyer who did not physically visited the house as he’d likely to rebuild from ground.
How will COVID-19 impact the prices and the demand for GCBs?
After the Global Financial Crisis in 2008, the GCB market experienced an upswing in prices, and Sumitro Ong anticipates the same trend to continue.
“Historically right after the Global Financial Crisis in 2018, the GCB market arose with prices moving upward. Despite the current Covid-19, there is still influx of Ultra High Networth Individuals and top-tier talents worldwide moving here and make Singapore their homes. This pandemic has made the rich richer, and GCBs market are only for the niche market, the crazy riches. Therefore, in my professional view, prices of GCBs shall remain versatile and resilient against any downward economic pressure.”
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